NE Premier League: Pakistani bowler Sami Niazi gives Burnmoor big boost for crucial Brandon clash

The ball beats the bat of Chester's George Harrison in last week's Premier Division clash at Whitburn. Picture by Tim Richardson
The ball beats the bat of Chester's George Harrison in last week's Premier Division clash at Whitburn. Picture by Tim Richardson

Burnmoor are boosted by the arrival of Sami Niazi for Saturday’s big First Division match at Brandon.

The Pakistani bowler has missed the first two games, but will go straight into the team.

Skipper Alec Linsley said: “Sami has finally arrived for his first match of the season, and Gareth Harte is also available, as is Craig Symington.

“Craig decided last season to ‘retire’ from cricket to play golf – but has changed his mind and signed on the dotted line to play alongside his brother.

“Mackenzie Wright is unavailable and Riley Blunt may be the player to make way.

“This is a big match, though still early in the season, as both sides go into battle with two wins apiece, but I am reluctant to call it a 40-pointer at this stage of the season!”

Brandon skipper Chris Peareth said: “Dean Crampton goes into the seconds and new recruit Niall Solomon, who is studying at Durham University, makes his debut.

“Ryan Pringle should be able to play, but that is not certain at the moment.

“Though very early days in a long season, this could well be the first ‘battle of the giants’ as both sides are unbeaten. Top form is required to maintain this excellent start.”

Burnopfield have Gareth Breese back in the team, to replace Lee Whitfield who is injured, for their game against Washington.

Skipper Neil Killeen stated: “It has been a good start to the season in what is a strong league, but if we all continue in the same vein there is every reason to be optimistic for the fixtures ahead, starting with Washington at home on Saturday.”

Washington have Scott Latimer unavailable due to work commitments, and he is replaced by Stephen Cuthbertson for his first match of the season.

The game promises to be another close one just as last year’s was, when the home side prevailed by one wicket.

Sunderland welcome Castle Eden to Ashbrooke.

Chairman Mike Smith said: “We have had a fairly positive start, but were disappointed to lose last weekend (at Burnmoor).

“We are looking forward to the game and we are strong for the weekend and we feel the team in general is better equipped this season, certainly in the bowling department.

“All the players are fit and we will be unchanged for the game and we are raring to go against Castle Eden.”

The visitors have two enforced changes.

Skipper Jonathan Brown said: “I am unavailable, as is Robert McGlasham, but Connor Crute and Liam Brown will both come into the side. Connor is an all-rounder, whilst Liam is a batsman.

“It has been a reasonable start under the circumstances, but it will be a tough game at Sunderland, who should be challenging for honours at the end of the season.

“Fixtures are thick and fast at this point, so there is plenty of opportunities to hit form.”

Boldon are at home to Willington and will be missing Gary Scott, who broke his hand last weekend.

Skipper Chris Ellison said: “Gary’s replacement is likely to be a second team bowler. That’s the only change as the side seeks to turn their fortunes around, having gone very close to winning both our opening fixtures, but just falling short on each occasion.”

Blaydon welcome Gateshead Fell to Denefield and will be without Durham’s Graham Clarke.

Gateshead Fell skipper Thomas Pinkney said: “There are two players unavailable – Richard Smith and David Daley. Mark Lockey and Matthew Willis will hopefully be the replacements.

“It has been a tough start to the season, playing probably the strongest teams in the league. The side did well at times, but were nowhere near consistent enough for any great lengths of time.

“This must be a priority to enable the side to compete throughout the campaign.”